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INSTORE’s Jewelers’ Confidence Index Plunges to Historical Low

It fell in tandem with jewelers’ sales numbers.

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THE INSTORE JEWELERS Confidence Index plunged to a record low in early April as the coronavirus pandemic brought the economy to a near standstill.

The index, which is based on jewelers’ short-term outlooks and their inventory orders, plummeted to just 3.4 as cities around the country instituted lockdowns and social distancing protocols. Note that previously, the JCI had never fallen below 43 in the four years we’ve been conducting the survey. Readings below 50 points signal that jewelers are more bearish than bullish about their business prospects.

The JCI fell in tandem with jewelers’ sales numbers. Half of our Brain Squad participants reported their revenue had dropped 25 percent or more in March compared with the same month in 2019, while a further 21 percent said their sales were down to a lesser degree. Only 18 percent of the jewelers reported sales growth.

Looking more deeply into the JCI data, an overwhelming but not surprising 87 percent of the respondents said they felt the outlook for their stores had deteriorated, while 82 percent had cut back on their inventory orders.

“In my (Midwestern) community we are going to be locked down for 14 days by the powers-that-be. So no shoppers, no repairs, no money coming in for a month now … and (the virus) hasn’t even hit us yet,” said Bill Longnecker, the owner of Longnecker Jewelry in McCook, NE. “We have had two months to prepare for it, our hospitals are ready and equipped with the tools to handle this virus when it gets here. But this hasn’t stopped our economy from collapsing simply from panic and fear.”

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The JCI data was drawn from INSTORE’s April Brain Squad survey, which was answered by 239 independent jewelers in North America in the first two weeks of April.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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